I googled “gentleness” and found an article on the seven habits of gentle people.1 I wondered how this list compared to the seven habits of successful people. Are successful people gentle?
The author made a bold claim in his title. He claims that gentleness is a sign of strength. He begins his article with, “There is nothing that shows your strength better than your gentleness.” Is this right? Are strong people gentle? Are we talking about physical strength or some other measure of strength?
I love words that grab my attention. Ginormous is a combo word, made up of giant and enormous. The idea is that some things and some people are giants. They are giants of industry or giants in their field, or a few are just physically larger than the rest of us. Enormous can also connote a relative largeness like an enormous piece of pie or an enormous pumpkin.
One ginormous legend that reminds me of gentleness in the midst of violence is Ruby Bridges. Sylvia shares an article on Ruby elsewhere so I won’t say much here. I listened to a TEDx talk by Ruby from 2014. My opinion was reconfirmed. Ruby is a ginormous legend.
Another gentle person of great strength is at Asbury nearly every day. Kevin Croom looks like a very strong man. Playing Division One, College and Pro football can do this to a person. When conflict arises during our Help Center days, Kevin is most often the person who takes charge. I suspect that the perpetrator’s first thought is, “I don’t want to mess with this guy!” But Kevin quickly defuses the situation with a gentle response. Anyone who knows Kevin knows that gentleness is a sign of his strength.
No force is more powerful than God. Nothing stronger. When it comes to power, God is ginormous. Those of us who believe that the universe began with a big bang, and credit God with the power behind it all, recognize that the energy that was released when creation began was bigger than ginormous. It was even bigger than super-ginormous.
One day Jesus is speaking to a crowd of people. Years later, someone decides to call this teaching, the Sermon on the Mount. During His talk, Jesus touches on several important subjects, turning conventional wisdom on its head. One statement that is particularly relevant for our conversations this week is this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies.
Talk about gentleness requiring great strength. Jesus didn’t list any exceptions. His criteria appear to focus on persons that we are least likely to love. Some of the parents of white children threw tomatoes at Ruby. At six years old, it surely was hard for her to be an adult while the adults were acting like poorly behaved children.
How hard is it for Kevin to show love towards an angry and likely desperate person who wreaks havoc during an already high-pressure situation? I can only speak from observation. I credit Kevin’s gentle strength of both character and physical strength. I also credit the hundreds of Flint residents who patiently wait for their turn. And the numerous volunteers who show up week after week to help things go as smoothly as possible. Most of all, I credit Kevin’s faith, as does Kevin.
When the Creator of the universe demonstrates gentleness, it is a compelling argument for gentleness as a way of life for the rest of us. Thank God for gentleness when I wreak havoc out of anger or desperation. I am grateful that instead of giving me what I deserve, God responds with a firm but gentle hand. Grace is the ultimate gentle response.
When the Creator of the universe demonstrates gentleness it is a compelling argument for gentleness as a way of life for the rest of us
Over the next three weeks, our worship is featuring a mini-series titled The Way. My prayer is that by taking some time to remember a few key lessons from Jesus, we are better equipped for our journey using the Daniel Plan.
On February 26, we kickoff Daniel Plan 2.0. This next series is not just for those who haven’t yet started using your journal. Winter is a good time for every one of us to recommit ourselves to living as Christ wants us to live. This series will take us right up to Easter when we celebrate our progress as we celebrate the ultimate gift of eternal life.
If you haven’t yet signed up for the Daniel Plan, be sure to do so.2 Each person living in our community who signs up receives your very own copy of The Daniel Plan Journal.3 If you are not a part of the Asbury Community, we still invite you to participate with us, but we ask that you purchase a copy on your own. These journals can be purchased on Amazon or from other vendors. You can also go to the DanielPlan.com store to buy this and other resources.
We worship each Sunday at 10:30 am. I hope to see you there. You can find more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.
1 Andy Mort, “Gentleness is Strength: The 7 Habits of Highly Gentle People,” Retrieved from: https://www.andymort.com/gentleness-is-strength/.
2 Warren, Rick, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman. The Daniel Plan. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.
3 Warren, Rick, and the Daniel Plan Team. The Daniel Plan Journal – 40 Days to a Healthier Life. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.